Tuesday, 15 October 2019 10:00

Germany snubs US over Huawei 5G ban Featured

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Germany snubs US over Huawei 5G ban Pixabay

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies will not be excluded from the rollout of 5G in Germany, with the government stating on Monday that no company would be banned.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told the media that all equipment vendors would be treated alike.

“We are not taking a pre-emptive decision to ban any actor, or any company,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The three German carriers — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland — all use Huawei equipment in their set-ups, though they also use gear from Nokia and Ericsson, the two other main players in the 5G space.

Three 5G rollouts in the UK by EE, Vodafone and Three have all used Huawei equipment in the non-core parts of the network as per the government's standing policy.

In April, a UK National Security Council decision on allowing the use of Huawei gear in non-core parts of the network was leaked. The decision, attributed to former prime minister Theresa May, said the Chinese firm would be allowed to contribute antennas and other infrastructure that are not considered to be part of the core.

Last year, BT and Huawei jointly announced that the Chinese firm's gear would be removed from the core of 3G and 4G networks as had been planned by BT when it bought EE — earlier known as Everything Everywhere — in 2016.

The US has been pushing countries it considers allies to ban Huawei from supplying equipment for any 5G networks. Australia has fallen in line, while New Zealand has said nothing definite yet. Japan has said it will be falling in line with the US advice.

But in recent days, there has been silence around the issue, as the US and China continue to tussle over tariffs. US President Donald Trump has indicated on more than one occasion that Huawei would be used as a bargaining chip to extract what he considers an acceptable deal from China.

Germany's decision will be formally released in its so-called security catalogue. Last week, the European Union warned that increased cyber attacks on 5G networks could be carried out by state-backed entities.

A Huawei spokesperson said the company welcomed the German Government's move to create "a level playing field for 5G network vendors".

"A fully competitive digital infrastructure market will drive industry digitalisation and digital economic development in Germany, bringing more advanced and convenient information services and experiences to consumers," the spokesperson added.

"Germany has set higher and consistent security standards for all vendors. Advanced declarations and process-based inspections will be adopted, and all vendors are equally and fairly welcome to participate in the construction of 5G networks if they fulfill the security requirements.

"This fact- and standards-based approach is of exemplary significance for addressing global cyber security challenges. Politicising cyber security will only hinder technology development and social progress while doing nothing to address the security challenges all countries face. Huawei will continue to work openly with regulators, customers, and industry organisations to ensure that mobile networks are secure."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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